`Popularity never went to Lucy's head'
The Edmonton Journal
Sunday, April 30, 1989
Byline: NICK LEES Journal Staff Writer
Source: THE EDMONTON JOURNAL
IT WAS AN accident during the filming of a Lucy Show epidsode that Gale Gordon remembers as typifying the concern of Lucille Ball.
He was playing flustered banker Mr. Mooney, who, after being robbed several times, had built a trapdoor in front of a teller's window.
"I was standing on the door with Lucy when Vivian Vance (who played Lucy's best friend) accidently leaned on the button that released
the trapdoor," said Gordon, 83.
"The cable that was to have let us down gently broke and we fell about 12 feet for real.
"We were banged about, had scrapped shins and were generally shaken up, but Lucy's only concern was for the special-effects man.
"He was below handling the cable and we could have killed him. He couldn't get out of the way.
"Above, the audience was laughing its head off unaware that anything was wrong.
"But Lucy's only concern was with the man's well-being. And that concern was typical.
"When I joined her (Gordon appeared in three television shows with Ball) there were crew members who had already been with her for 25
or 30 years. She cared about each and everyone."
Gordon, appearing at the Mayfair Dinner Theatre in Mass Appeal, lamented the passing of his friend this week at 77 and called her "a bit
of a genius."
"Popularity never went to Lucy's head," he said. "I remember her once appearing on a show with Vivian Vance and Vivian answering a
question by saying: `When you are big stars like us. . . '
"Lucy gave her a kick in the shins and an elbow in the ribs. She was embarrassed by that because she never thought of herself as a star."
Gordon was heard with Ball in the early '40s in Look Who's Laughing and in 1947, in My Favorite Husband, which became the television
program I Love Lucy.
"She was a young, vibrant, very pretty girl," he said. "I had never heard of her. But she was one of those young lady's who had a great deal
Ball began her career as a showgirl. "She would do anything when the others didn't want to let a curl fall out of place," said Gordon. "She
would slide down stairs; wear a gaudy costume; blacken her teeth; have mud thrown in her face. She didn't mind do anything to look
ugly. She had no vanity at all."
Ball was also an incredibly quick learner who would never use a double.
Ball made the scenes hilarious, although she didn't think she was funny. "But she could read something and know immediately if it was
funny or not, or what would make it funny," said Gordon.
Gordon, who kept in touch with Ball and her husband Gary Morton, said it was a blessing the actress passed quickly, unlike Ball's first
husband Desi Arnaz whom she divorced in 1960. Arnaz died in 1986.
"She went through the agony of Desi's slow death from cancer and suffered terribly," he said. "He didn't recognize her. He didn't
recognize his mother. And he didn't recognize little Lucy." [sic]